Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Nothing "altruistic" about it

Layoffs are taking place but, perhaps, not in a big way since the PM made it clear to businessmen that they ought to show restraint in the matter. The deal seems to be that government will do what it can by way of bail-outs or interest rate cuts in exchange for industry not resorting to layoffs in the run-up to elections.

Some companies have the taken the route of leaving it to employees to take a year or two off. Some employees may avail of it for family reasons; others might want to try out a new job. This sort of voluntarism is useful- provided it is truly voluntary.

I must confess, however, that I am not bowled over by Infosys' suggestion that employees take time off in order to devote themselves to "altruistic" activities, say, working for NGOs. One report indicated that Infosys was even considering paying upto 50% of salary for those taking a year off.

If the intention is to incentivise certain kinds of leave, then giving 50% of pay to those joining NGOs makes sense. But if the intention is simply to cut costs, then why would Infosys want to specify what employees do with their leave? How does it matter to Infosys whether somebody joins SEWA or Oxfam during his or her leave period or the film industry? It's a good idea not to confuse "altruism" with shareholder wealth maximisation.

1 comment:

Tanu Shivnani said...

serving dual purpose with 1 decision....but it seems that they r more interested in paying them half salary rather than makin them work(no work considerin current scenario) n payin them fully...well watever it b but its a gud idea